School Board and Assembly Agree to Step Up Meeting Frequency

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Jennifer Canfield/KMXT

Last night’s meeting between the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and the Kodiak Island Borough School Board made obvious the lack of communication between the two groups. Presentations by borough manager Rick Gifford and school superintendent Stewart McDonald lasted about an hour before assembly members started to air their frustrations.

Assemblyman Mel Stephens was first to express his annoyance that budget details weren’t made available until the meeting.

(Mtg 1 :30 "I’ve said this before … disappointing thus far.")

Stephens went on to say that the school board should have come to the assembly with a clearer picture of their ideal 2013 budget, with unavoidable expenses outlined. The assembly and the school board have had difficulties in the past engaging on budgetary issues. School board president Melissa Borton says the meeting was intended to spark discussion about the 2013 budget.

(Mtg 2 :54 "We didn’t come to this meeting … documents in front of you."

Assemblywoman Louise Stutes tried to clear up confusion about how the discussion between the assembly and the school board was going to move forward.

(Mtg 3 :24 "Then I would presume … really drive the budget.")

Mayor Jerome Selby followed up by saying that the meeting was "envisioned as being the first of a series of exchanges of information."

(Mtg 4 :07 "What’s obvious I think … and our demands are going up.")

Assemblywoman Carole Austerman expressed her frustration at the lack of communication between the assembly and the school board.

(Mtg 5 :27 "I had no idea … will be very helpful for everybody.")

Borton again responded on behalf of the school board, suggesting continued cooperation and a more involved discussion regarding the school district budget.

(Mtg 6 :37 "I agree completely … will to sit at the table with you guys.")

School board member Aaron Griffin* suggested reforming how the school board and assembly address the yearly budget. He says the budget should rely more on the expected increases in the borough property assessment instead of relying on the assembly to adjust the mill rate.

(Mtg :13 "If we can get to that … what we need to do next year.")

Both groups agreed to continue meeting throughout the budget planning process. The assembly and the school board will come together again on December 13th when the architect for the new high school is scheduled to present.

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*KMXT misidentified Aaron Griffin in the version of this story that aired on the morning newscast. We apologize for the mistake.

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